No limits to learning at Signing Bee competition
DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, September 20, 2017
The adage that there is no limit to what you can achieve, was on Wednesday displayed by hearing-impaired students during the second annual Signing Bee competition. The contest which was held at the National Center for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) saw students spelling words presented to them through visuals.
Participating students came from special needs schools across the country including the David Rose School for the Handicapped, New Amsterdam Special School, Diamond Special Needs School and Linden Special Needs Centre.
National Special Education Needs (SEN) Officer Savvie Hopkinson said there was a significant improvement in the students’ performances this year. She pointed out that the students use the competition to showcase there are no restrictions to learning.
Hopkinson explained that “their performance here this morning I think is exceptional. Our students without knowing what we would present to them are able to use visuals to be able to create images in their minds and to be able to also showcase language through signing words or spelling”.
According to Hopkinson, the competition is a way to break down barriers and make others aware that even with a disability communication is not lost. Currently, the competition is only held during Education Month; Hopkinson opined that it is possible it will be hosted at least once during the regular school term and in rural areas. However, this is after a critical review of this year’s competition.
She stated that “we will review it after to see where any deficiencies exist, anything that we can improve. So for next year, we will have a better competition and also perhaps not only for education month but we will be able to have this competition maybe during the school year and not only to have it in Georgetown but probably expand it to expose other to the other regions.”
Gordon Roberts, SEN Officer for Georgetown said that the competition afforded persons with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their talent. Roberts noted that “in this case our deaf students they got the opportunity to display their talent in spelling, the stuff they would have been learning in school. The hard work that they would have been pushing in with teachers so we gave them this space to come here and showcase this”.
Anna Maraj, a teacher, said that she was amazed by what she witnessed during the signing bee. “I enjoyed it, it was a great privilege and it showed me that even though these children have a disability that they are learning just at the same pace as other children without disabilities”, Maraj explained.
The competition had two categories. Category one saw students from ages 12 and below participating while category two was for students 13 and above. However, the Linden Special Needs Centre dominated the show. Troy Scott of Linden grabbed first place in Category One and in Category Two, first and second place went to Ulancy Emanuel and Trinity Payne respectively.
Kerdell McKenzie and Abigail Jairam of the New Amsterdam Special School won second and third place in Category One respectively. Third place for Category Two went to Kacia Miler of the David Rose School for the Handicapped.
All participating students received a certificate and a prize for representing their school. The competition forms part of the month of activities in observance of Education month under the theme “Promoting Wellness in Communities through Quality Education.”
By: Isaiah Braithwaite